Tag Archives: EMS conference

EMSToday Earlybird Winner

Planning ahead pays off. At least it did for Christopher Clarkin of OMFD! He didn’t win the billion dollar lottery, but having a brand new iPad Mini for the EMS Today conference in Baltimore later next month is pretty sweet. Christopher registered during December for the conference using the promo code HPEMS which earned him $100 off his Gold or Silver registration along with the winning entry for an iPad Mini. emstodayipadmini

If you haven’t registered for the conference yet, its not too late. You can still register today using the HPEMS promo code to receive a discount and your own entry for this month’s drawing of another iPad Mini. Not everyone will win the next drawing (however, your odds are much better than this past lottery drawing) but you will benefit from unparalleled networking and learning opportunities at the premier EMS conference of the year. Highlights include Leadership tracks, clinical tracks, JEMS games, Dynamic & Active Threats training, Expo hall, and so much more.

You can also still vote on the winning caption for the Paul Combs “Drawn by Fire” official 2016 conference t-shirt design at this special link through January 22.

Christopher, you can pick up your prize at the PennWell Booth any time at EMS Today conference in Baltimore. I hope to see you there!

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Fore Thoughts of EMS Today 2015

For the last few years I have written my initial impressions of conferences in blog posts shortly after, or sometimes even during, a conference. The post “Quick Thoughts from the EMS Today 2012 Conference,” for instance, described my first EMS Today experience and captured the fact that I actually had the opportunity to give ‘two thumbs up‘ to my boyhood idle ‘Johnny Gage’ (aka Randolph Mantooth) among other professional icons. I also had the opportunity to ride along with a BCFD crew and documented that experience in the post “A Country EMS in the Big City” that year. The next year, I got to experience EMS Today in DC along with the much hyped ‘Snowquester‘ that abbreviated the EMS on the Hill advocacy opportunity, but where I did still get to witness a small ‘Gathering of Eagles‘ slaughtering a number of ‘sacred cows.’ A summary of that experience is recorded in the post “Quick Thoughts from EMS Today 2013 Conference.” Last year provided a very different perspective as I got to document EMS Today from the viewpoint of a pre-conference presenter and spent much of my time as an exhibitor on the show floor. One of my favorite learning experiences, however, was the ‘Resuscitation Academy‘. Some of my experience that year was covered in the post “Quick Thoughts from EMS Today 2014.” But this particular post is a unique first, as I am writing this time about a conference that hasn’t even happened yet – EMS Today 2015!

My interest in this coming conference is as a blog reporter. I hope to attend this conference as an official blogger tasked with documenting once again my experience as a participant in all of the fascinating aspects of this powerful and educationally-packed conference. If you are planning to attend the conference, we can help each other. Your registration using the code ‘EMSBDALE’ gets you a discount, even beyond the early bird discount rate, and provides a vote of confidence in me to be selected as the official blogger for this coming event. To make it an even better deal for you, each registration using my code will be entered into a drawing for a mini Apple iPad this month and another for anyone who enters my code during registration for January as well.

I hope that you do get to go to this keystone EMS event and that you will help me get there as well. If we do win, you will hear about it first on this blog page. PennWell and JEMS is working closer with its Fire EMS blog network than ever before in order to bring you a more intimate view of the conference and the larger industry of EMS as well through independent blogs, Facebook pages like High Performance EMS, and Twitter feeds including @hp_ems. So even if you don’t get to the 2015 EMS event of the year, you can still experience some of the excitement and continue to learn all throughout the year.

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Quick Thoughts from EMS Today 2014

After an incredible week of learning, I'm not sure how "quick" my thoughts can be about this year's EMS Today conference in Washington DC. While I didn't get to see and do everything I could have wanted, I will fill you in on the highlights of my personal experience. Feel free to add comments below about things I may have missed.

For me, the week began with pre-conference workshops that included my first opportunity to participate on the instructional end of one of these sessions. Nothing helps you learn better than teaching others! In general, these are excellent opportunities to dig deeply into a special topic. In my case, the topic was system performance looking specifically at "Dynamic Deployment" not only as a tool, but as a process that involves careful planning and structural changes benefiting patients and management as well as individual providers. (Watch for a future post to summarize what was covered.) After that, I attended the abbreviated "Resuscitation Academy" with Drs. Michael Copass, Mickey Eisenberg, Tom Rea, Michael Sayre and others who taught me how to "bend" that familiar curve that normally reduces a patients chances of survival with VF by 10% for each minute to improve the possible outcome of ROSC leading to a successful hospital discharge.  By changing our mindset to one where "everyone survives" and recognizing the proper roles of both BLS and ACLS in working a code most effectively, the ideas in this course are something we all need to seriously take to heart. For some, the evening ended by recognizing the contributions of the top "EMS 10" awards of 2013 for contributions to our profession.

Thursday morning began with a session on the developing Health Information Exchange in San Diego for me.  This was outside my personal comfort zone and proved to be an interesting view of how hospitals percieve EMS and the challenges of working more closely with us to coordinate patient records and improve interaction in real-time. Imagine working with a 9-1-1 caller and hearing from their Medicaid case worker even before leaving the scene. My next stop was a discussion on opportunities for the fire service in "Mobile Integrated Healthcare" led by Matt Zavadsky and AJ Heightman.  It was a sobering review of where we have positioned ourselves as EMS professionals and how we can deal with our business changing from "emergency care" to "unscheduled medical services." The case was clearly laid before us that our challenge is in showing "value" not just in what we do to patients, but what we can do for our patients. The afternoon continued with an opening plenary presentation by Dr Alex Garza not only on national healthcare topics, but the specific challenges we face in redefining our profession.  My favorite comment (loosely paraphrased) was that both the service with a 50% CPR survival rate and the one with a 5% survival do the same things, the only difference is the attention to quality and details.  He charged that we must do better in the new healthcare world order that is focused on not only patient care, but patient satisfaction. Clearly we seem to be leaving the primary role of public safety and trespassing in the world of hospital-managed health care.

Friday was spent primarily on the exhibit hall floor. Visiting the vendors and seeing all of the gadgets and innovations is one of my favorite aspects of the conference. While only a few ideas struck me as truly revolutionary, like the INDEMO ambulance design or Loop for "gamifying" CPR, I discovered that most were only new to me.  Still many ideas were quite resourceful and provide real value. One of my favorites was Microdot for simply covering a glucometer with a bright orange rubber shell and putting everything I needed in a bright red zippered case. Never again will I loose this item on a dark floor.  I was also impressed by Microflex and Darn Tough for making nitrile gloves that don't break or socks that don't wear. And honorable mention to Transportation Safety Apparel for making a high-viz jacket combination at an incredible low price. For me, EMS Today is about practical ideas and tools that make the job easier and improve outcomes for patients. These qualities are always important to "High Performance EMS."

On Saturday, as the Olympics were being held over in Sochi, our own version of the emergency healthcare "atheletes" competed in the JEMS Games and the best were honored for exceptional performance. It is inspiring to be with friends and colleagues of this caliber and I am looking forward to EMS Today next year in back in Baltimore where I can continue to learn and be inspired.   

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Quick Thoughts from EMS Today 2013 Conference

Since the EMS Today conference for 2013 started a week ago I know that my thoughts at this point can hardly be considered “quick” any longer. However I wanted to share my experience of the highlights from this event anyway. JEMS has always been known for putting together a great product whether in print or performance and this show was not a disappointment. While I have not heard about attendance figures, it did seem just a little smaller in Washington, DC this year compared with Baltimore last year. I also had a hard time capturing a single shared mood or tone for this year. Perhaps it was the cancellation of my pre-conference course and inability to get registered into any others that may have set me off on the wrong foot. Especially easy to do after a day of work followed by an evening Con Ed class and an all-night drive to beat the forecast “Snowsquester? that was sure to shut down DC. But it didn’t take long to begin catching up with colleagues and realize there were fewer flakes than predicted.

Wednesday: Improvisation is a primary characteristic of both EMS professionals as well as politicians. Fortunately, both implemented plenty of it on Wednesday during a modified “EMS on the Hill Day” event sponsored by NAEMT in conjunction with the conference. While not as many elected representatives were available as hoped due to a weather-related shut down, there was opportunity to explain the impacts of legislation such as PPACA (“ObamaCare”) and the Field EMS bill on our industry to those who knew where it was happening. (An awareness shared by those attendees who participate in social media at conferences.) This is an important annual day of advocacy open to all EMS professionals who register in advance and one that everyone should be involved in supporting. As representatives were found to be available, they were visited by attendees on your behalf.

For those of us attending the impromptu hotel meeting, we heard several good speakers on topics passionate to them. Matt Zavadsky of “MedStar Mobile Healthcare” (formerly ‘MedStar EMS’) discussed his agencies view of changes to the industry saying “we are not Emergency Medical Services (any longer), we are Unscheduled Medical Services.” Others, like Chris Montero, spoke on our increasing role in public health and promoting community paramedics. One easy example was assisting with “mobile immunizations” for the community (or what was jokingly termed “drive-by shootings”). Later in the evening JEMS announced the “EMS 10” Award Recipients for 2012 at a special gala event recognizing those who drove the EMS profession forward. It is definitely worth reading through the accomplishments of these individuals and agencies and commit to continue their work nationally. LeFlore County EMS located in “super rural” Oklahoma, just as an example, improved their save rate from 6% to 40% and has not failed an intubation in 3 years.

Thursday: By far the busiest day with endless concurrent sessions. I tweeted as many of the pearls of wisdom that I heard live as fast as I could. Whether you are attending a conference or not, the ability to share knowledge through social media at an event like this is incredibly valuable. For those at home or on the job, it was their first opportunity to hear even pieces of great lectures and those in the same room get to hear what resonates with others immediately. One of the key points I took away from this day of courses was that as an industry, we need to communicate that EMS response is more than a measure between receiving a call in the dispatch center and the wheels of an ambulance hitting the curb at the scene. It is also important that we “take stock of our dysfunctions in order to embrace the change that means improvement for the benefit of our patients.”

Representatives from the “Gathering of Eagles” presented in a forum session where several “sacred cows” of pre-hospital care were lined up for the slaughter. Such controversial ideas as: “IVs being the only method to administer drugs is becoming an antiquated idea”; “to save patients as well as money, focus on driving safety and alternate endpoints for treatment?; or “where are the papers that support the benefits of the backboard?” Cervical collars, it was argued to the delight of the crowd, properly strapped with patient on a stretcher can be safer than a “slip-n-slide” (i.e. “backboard” which can add to compression/decompression injuries during transport.) I know many of us are watching intently for the paper coming soon on new ideas for spinal immobilization. In short, the best summary of the “Eagles? session was “everything is changing.”

Another informative and challenging session was “What EMS has Learned from the Iraq and Afghanistan Battlefield” with Peter Taillac. Much of this presentation focused on the return of the tourniquet. This device, according to Tallic, got a bad rap because there was historically no evacuation plan once applied, but more recent research shows that survival rates for patients are 96% if a proper tourniquet is applied before signs of shock are present while rates decrease rapidly to only 4% when it is used only as a “last ditch effort.” The other challenge to traditional thinking was stated clearly in the thought that “only a doctor can remove a tourniquet is bullshit.? Medics should apply tourniquets early, as indicated, but reassess the need for a tourniquet during transport and remove if possible. One warning, however, is that if blood pressure increases after removal, the likelihood of “popping a clot? increases too. However, he contends that the goal of an IV is to prevent shock by maintaining perfusion not returning normal blood pressure in the field. Tallic also praised topical hemostatic agents when used properly but chastised the industry in general saying that typically “EMS sucks at pain control.”

The opening ceremonies on Thursday night had all of the requisite pomp and ceremony to make any fire-based EMS service feel comfortable. But it was all pure EMS history as Dan Swayze of the Center for Emergency Medicine in Pittsburgh (CEM) led the audience through a dramatic trip of historic “pre-hospital medicine firsts.” I know I had personally wondered where some practices came from, but it was definitely thought-provoking when Dan asked, “so, you are the first person to ever attempt increasing blood flow with direct intravenous fluids, how do you do it?” Following this presentation, the exhibit hall was officially opened and I got to attend the premier of the latest Code STEMI video in the inspiring FRN series taped this time at the world’s busiest EMS service. Take a look and share it as part of the “Community Connected” initiative I mentioned in my last post.

Friday and Saturday: Continued more sessions and time in the exhibit hall as well as annual favorites like the JEMS Games and the Cook-Off Challenge. Unfortunately, I had to leave before the closing ceremonies and last session, “Gaining and Keeping the Public’s Trust” by a popular and entertaining speaker, Gordon Graham. I do look forward to next year though and hope to see you there.

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